ONEONTA – Rabbi Emeritus Donald Neil Roberts, who served Oneonta’s Temple Beth El for 22 years, passed away peacefully early Monday morning, May 6, 2019, following a short illness.
He was born in the Bronx, to Irving and Florence (Sherman) Roberts. In 1967, he graduated from the Hebrew Union College with a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Music and received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music in 2007. His rabbinic ordination was earned in 1990.
He married Barbara (Rapp) Roberts in 1977, with whom he shared his personal and professional life for 42 years.
For 50 years, Rabbi Roberts served Jewish communities, ending his career as Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Oneonta from 1992 to 2014 and as Rabbi Emeritus until his death. Rabbi Roberts was a force of nature who evoked strong emotions. For those who connected with his love, loyalty, insight and care, their lives and his remain eternally united.
He leaves behind family, friends, congregants and students whose lives were profoundly touched, and they will carry him in their hearts forever.
Rabbi Roberts is survived by his wife, Barbara; his children, Isabella, Jennifer and Darren (Leslie); and his grandchildren, Jordan, Jacob, Ava and Stella.
He was buried in the Temple Beth El Cemetery at 2 p.m. today. Cantors Jacob, Fredda and Daniel Mendelson and the Rev. Marie King officiated.
Memorial donations may be made to Temple Beth El of Oneonta, P.O. Box 383, Oneonta, NY 13820.